The Perfect Sandwich?
It's composed of:
"rustic Acme baguette"
Mt. Tam triple creme, from Cowgirl Creamery
I was down there today doing some very important birthday shopping, and I stopped by the bakery to pick up a loaf of my favorite whole-wheat walnut (that soft purple crunch gets me every time). A sign advertising their new (!) sandwiches caught my eye. I had a leftover dish of cauliflower-mushroom soup for my lunch, but it definitely needed to be augmented by a little something. How lucky, then, that I had stopped by the bakery.
Now, I'm sure I could make this sandwich at home, on my own, but I doubt it would taste quite as good. I'd probably put too much quince paste (note: my first time ever trying it, and it was good) or my bread wouldn't be quite as crisp, or I'd put in too much cheese, as is my wont. I'm almost embarrassed that I'm going on about it so much because it's so simple but like I said, it's so good I don't even care. The bread is very crisp but also delectably chewy, and stuck in between it are thin wedges of cheese, which are offset perfectly by a smear of sweet quince paste and the sharp bite of wispy arugula leaves.
I ate it too quickly to take a photo -- and I don't have my camera with me anyway, which also means no picture of the very, very (very) tiny and cute dog who visited today -- so this means I shall have to go back very soon to get another, only so I can provide you with some evidence. I'm doing this for you my lovely one (or two?) reader -- and yes, OK, a little bit for myself, too. But mostly for you. No really, I mean it.
Remember how I just wrote about how pretty and blue and lovely was the sky this weekend? And about how it wouldn't last? Well. Today it is grey and chilly, and last night was even worse:
[Fog at Ocean Beach, Oct. 2007]
Luckily we were driving about and so didn't have to brave the whipping wind while waiting for the bus, and luckily I had lots of heirloom tomatoes to make up into a quick and delicious sauce that was tossed with bow-tie pasta, sprinkled generously with parmesan, and accompanied by a market salad crammed full of things like radishes, carrots, and almonds, as well as a sautée of zucchini, basil and fresh corn, as soon as we got home. [I feel the extreme yum-ness of the meal justifies that run-on sentence.]
As I simmered the tomatoes and stirred the squash, the windows got all steamy in that way they do, and it felt very cozy inside against the ever-earlier dark. After getting fog-drenched and chilled out at the beach, I finally felt, well, almost warm again. All I needed was a glass of red wine. Next time.
Late-season tomato sauce
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 large-ish heirloom tomatoes (or more, as you like)
good handful (1/2 cup) torn basil leaves
Prepare a pasta you like (spaghetti would be great).
Meanwhile, sautée the onion and garlic in a pot with olive oil over medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes. Wash and coarsely chop the tomatoes (you can remove the skins if you like by boiling until they split, then putting immediately into an ice bath, but last night I was HUNGRY, people, and there was just no time). Add the tomatoes to the pot, and raise heat to high. Stir vigorously. As the tomatoes begin to break, you may add a little vegetable broth, or pasta water, for consistently. Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, then lower heat and simmer for as long as you have, at least 10 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and throw in the basil. Stir until wilted. Pour in heaping spoonfuls over your pasta and stir well to combine.
Serve very hot, with parmesan.